A Partnership of UConn and Eversource

Eversource Energy Center


Stormwise Your Home

At the Eversource Energy Center, we are working together with Eversource and other utility companies to better predict potential storm damage, strengthen utility infrastructure, and reduce tree-failure risk.

Much of what we learn from our research into Roadside Tree and Forest Management, Wind and Trees, and Trees and People is helpful to homeowners and communities when making decisions about tree care and management.

Please read on for advice, suggestions, and information about tree risk near your home and in public spaces.

Advice and Suggestions: Tree Risk Around Your Home

Robust, healthy shade trees around your home provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Temperature moderation
  • Rain intensity reduction
  • Visual Aesthetics
  • Bird and other wildlife habitat areas
  • Increased property value
  • Privacy enhancement

Growing trees that are healthy is the first step in reducing risk of tree failure:

  • Trees with plenty of space to grow are healthier trees. Avoid planting close to buildings, wires or other structures.
  • Avoid planting trees too close to each other. Leave plenty of space for root and crown development.
  • Maintain a suitable root environment. Try to avoid excavating in root zones, or conversely, burying established roots with extra soil or excessive mulch.

The overall appearance of a tree is a key indicator of its condition:

  • During the growing season does it develop a full crown of well-formed leaves or needles?
  • Is it shedding bark, twigs or branches?
  • Is the color robust?

Remove trees that present serious risks:

  • To assess risk, first ask:
    • Is the tree likely to fail? Failure potential indicators include:
      • Excessive lean
      • Indications of rot or decay
      • Dead branches and limbs
      • Large cavities
      • Splits in trunk or at branch forks
  • Next, assess:
    • If the tree should fail, is it likely to strike something important or valuable?

Is your home near the edge of the woods? Some questions to consider:

  • Are trees leaning toward your home or wires?
  • Do trees at the edge have space to grow on all sides?

A licensed Arborist or Certified Forester can help you to assess tree conditions.

Figure 3 - Crew member trimming tree branches with safety apparel

Member of an arborist crew is working on tree trimming. Notice his hard hat, hearing protection, harness and other personal safety equipment

Stormwise Image

The tree species, especially the expected height at maturity, should be considered when planting around the home or utility wires.

Figure 2 Tree Near Wires on Field

This healthy-looking edge tree is still within striking distance of the wires, but has been provided with space all around it to grow and develop wind-firmness.



  • Proactive management of roadside trees and forests can make trees more resistant to storm damage while retaining the quintessential New England landscape. Our Stormwise program is reducing the risk of tree-related storm damage to power lines.
  • Trees that stand alone develop a rounder, bushier shape with spreading branches and thicker trunks and are less prone to wind damage.
  • Wounds to trees never actually heal. Instead, trees compartmentalize wounds, sealing off the wounded area with protective plant tissues from above and below, and from the inside and with bark on the outside. During the growing season, a healthy tree will begin to grow new wood over a wound from the outside. However, the damaged portion will remain inside the tree for the remainder of its life.
  • Although commonly seen in landscaping, a thick pile of mulch around the trunk and base of a tree is not good for a tree. A thin layer of mulch to control weeds will not cause harm to the tree, but is not necessary. In addition, burying roots too deeply will stress a tree.
  • Healthy trees depend on healthy roots. Soil compaction, excessive lawn fertilizers and pesticides, and wounds from trimmers and mowers can all result in stress to your favorite shade tree.
  • The organic chemical compounds that create foliage colors during the fall are present in leaves throughout the growing season, but are overshadowed by green chlorophyll during the summer. As the chlorophyll fades at the end of the season, the colors of other compounds in the leaves become visible for a time.
  • White oak acorns form, mature, drop from the tree, and germinate all in one growing season. Red oak acorns are unique in that they require two growing seasons.
  • Ash trees are members of the olive family. Historically, baseball bats have been made of ash. Maple bats also have become popular during the past 20 years.
  • Emerald ash borer is a non-native insect pest, now present in Connecticut and expected to kill many ash trees over the next few years. There are many pests that are currently invading our trees and forests, and proper management can help reduce the severity of many pest species. Contact your local tree warden for more information.
  • Bowling pins, and many other products, are made of sugar maple, also known as hard maple.
  • Barrels used for wine and liquor fermentation are often made of oak.
  • Roughly 40 gallons of maple sap are required to produce one gallon of maple syrup.

Team Information

Thomas Worthley, Associate Extension Professor, University of Connecticut

Nancy Marek, Research Forester, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut

Anita Morzillo, Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut

Robert Fahey, Assitant Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut

Dr. John C. Volin, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Professor in the Natural Resources and the Environment department, University of Connecticut


Contact Information

For more information, please contact Thomas E. Worthley, Associate Extension Professor

Eversource Energy Center | Innovation Partnership Building: 159 Discovery Drive, Unit 5276, Storrs, CT 06269-5276 | E-Mail: eversourceenergycenter@uconn.edu